Big donation is no lost cause

MAPPING THEIR WAY: Peta Hender, Biloela RSL Sub-branch president John Rathjen, Lieutenant Lizzie Beahan, Sam Steger, Mace Davis, Ryan Simkins, Jarrad Castorina, Todd Sketchley and Leona Waqa with the new compasses.
MAPPING THEIR WAY: Peta Hender, Biloela RSL Sub-branch president John Rathjen, Lieutenant Lizzie Beahan, Sam Steger, Mace Davis, Ryan Simkins, Jarrad Castorina, Todd Sketchley and Leona Waqa with the new compasses. Vanessa Jarrett

THE 124 Army Cadet Unit of Biloela are the proud owners of 20 new high-class compasses thanks to the Biloela RSL Sub-branch.

The sub-branch donated 20 Silva Expedition S4+ prismatic compasses, protectors, cases and plotting notebooks.

Sub-branch president John Rathjen said they were more than happy to help the young local cadets.

"The cadets wanted 20 so they came to us and we got it for them,” Mr Rathjen said.

Mr Rathjen explained they were good-quality compasses that totalled just shy of $4000.

"You get what you pay for,” he said.

While technology moves forward and makes old-school tools like compasses seem outdated, Mr Rathjen said they were still more than necessary.

"If you can't navigate and don't know what way is north you'll get yourself into problems,” Mr Rathjen said.

"These days people say you only need a GPS but we find some places don't have service.”

The cadets were also presented with notebooks to go with the compasses that have a graph print on the paper for plotting.

"This way you can find where you are and plot it in your compass notebook,” Mr Rathjen said.

Mr Rathjen said basic mapping and compassing skills were vital.

"If you know how to read a map and use a compass you can combine the two, it will get you out of trouble,” he said.

A bit of an expert in compasses himself, MrRathjen said these newcompasses would getthe cadets out of any trouble when out orienteering.

"For the cadets, the Silva compass is the ideal thing, they don't have the mortality rates like the other types,” he said.

"With the Silva compass, everything is there, the needle, the ruler edge.

"If you are going out, youcan set it up from whereyou are and you can decide where you want to go next.”

Officer Commanding Brendan Beahan said the new compasses were much needed.

"The unit has grown to the point we had enough cadets with enough skills and we needed some tools to give them something to do,” Mr Beahan said.

"We had all these high-skilled cadets and we didn't want to bore them with lower-level things.”

The compasses will get agood workout in three weeks when the Biloela andGladstone units hit Galloway Plains, a property near Calliope, for their major navigation exercise.

"They will definitely get put through their paces,” Mr Beahan said.

"They will cover about 20km over two days.

"The entire unit will be there, with around 80 or 90 cadets on the ground.”

Next on the wish list for the cadet unit is a base station radio.

"It is more for commanding of the unit and it will allow the kids to go further because we have better communication,” Mr Beahan said.

"I don't think that will be less than $5000 - it is an impressive piece of equipment.”

Topics:  biloela cadets biloela rsl sub-branch cadets galloway plains

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